Aug 16,17,18 2019 tickets

Category Archives: Performers 2017

Family Ties

Several years ago, I was teaching at a music camp in New Jersey. I had a group of about 16 songwriters as students. On the first night they invited me down to a songwriters’ circle at one of the cabins. I went, stayed for one round through the circle, and said my “good nights”. I then went and played for two hours with the contra dance band.


The next day, they asked what I thought about the circle. My inner Canadian was still asleep and instead of being polite, I said what was on my mind. I told them that the best thing they could do as songwriters was to go back home and find a traditional band to play with —traditional Irish, traditional Rock and Roll, it didn’t matter. They were writing songs that had no tie to any tradition, except a singer songwriter tradition. To write better songs, they had to grow some roots. Case in point-Joel Plaskett.


Joel is a node. He’s one of these people who works well with others. He has written the occasional song with Matt Andersen. He has production credits on dozens of CDs. He’s recorded and performed with Rose Cousins and Anne Egge. He’s played everything from orchestral shows to Cafes. He clearly likes to play. He likes to explore and bring people along for the ride.


Joel has spent most of his career in bands-Nabisco Fonzie, The Thrush Hermits, Neuseiland and his eponymous Joel Plaskett Emergency. He’s a great live performer, relaxed and comfortable. His melodies are catchy. Though he has dabbled in a lot of styles musically, his lyrics maintain a consistent conversational tone. There’s a lot of storytelling. Joel has enjoyed and is enjoying the kind of success that independent artists aspire to. Great sales, sold out concerts, nominations and awards are all fruits of hard work and talent.


This year, though, it’s back to the roots for Joel. He joins forces with one of his earliest musical influences—his father Bill Plaskett.



joelandbillBill was born in London, England in 1945. He spent the early 1960s playing tenor banjo —learned from his father— and bass in a traditional jazz bands and skiffle groups. In 1966, Bill traveled through the United States on a Greyhound bus pass. He immigrated to Canada in 1967, ultimately moving to Nova Scotia where Joel was born in 1975.


Through much of the 1980s the family lived in historic Lunenburg. The town is the embodiment, in wood and stone, of what every Canadian imagines Nova Scotia to be. Trim wooden houses rise up from the harbour. It looks prosperous because it was. The Bluenose is the most famous of the vessels that was built in that harbour, but she was only one of thousands born in Lunenburg’s cradles. In the mid 1800s, there could be as many as 18 vessels under construction at a time. There may be busloads of tourists now posing before the picturesque, but it’s still a working harbour.


Bill played in an old time band called Starb’ard Side and helped found the beloved Lunenburg Folk Festival. On festival weekend the town is dominated by the tent atop Blockhouse Hill, the highest point in town. Music also happens on the docks on the waterfront.


From the beginning, the festival was plagued by a lack of accommodation for the musicians. Volunteers and members of the board offered their houses as billets. Kitchen parties at the Plaskett house during the festival were a big event, but there was live music in the house all year round. Joel did not learn to be a musician in isolation, it was part of the fabric of his youth— Bill made sure of that.


They have recorded a new CD, Solidarity and have been touring throughout the spring and summer. The CD gives a glimpse of their musical life. In typical Joel fashion, the supporting cast draws from sources as divergent as Mayhemingways, a duo from Peterborough who will be the backing band for Bill and Joel’s Summerfolk appearance, to Shannon Quinn a wicked traditional fiddler. The album is stripped sown and simple. As its title suggests, the disc doesn’t shy away from politics, that’s in the finest folk tradition.



Bill and Joel Plaskett join us at Summerfolk 42 on August 18th on our Amphitheatre stage. Summerfolk runs August 17, 18, 19, 20 at Kelso beach park in Owen Sound, Ontario. In formation can be found at or by phoning our office at 519-371-2991. Weekend passes are available at advance prices until July 31.

Georgian Bay Roots Ep 43

Georgian Bay Roots

With your host Jon Farmer

1609969_10154532318180220_5111923560966166563_nEvery Sunday on CFOS 560 from 4-5pm, Georgian Bay Roots shares some of the best music that’s made in and played in Grey and Bruce Counties with roots music from across Canada and around the world thrown into the mix. Host, Jon Farmer, brings a musician’s ear and the heart of a fan to the airwaves with stories about performers and news about upcoming shows and releases. Tune in to hear some of your favourite acts and new bands that you didn’t know you loved.

This show starts with performers who will be at Summerfolk42, plays a bunch of fireflies songs, and ends with some folks Jon met at Mariposa and a shout out to Owen Sound’s Harbour Nights concerts.

If you missed the live show, we will post the episode by 6pm ET.

You can download an iTunes podcast here

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Contact us at


Georgian Bay Roots is presented by the Georgian Bay Folk Society with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation

Georgian Bay Roots is sponsored this week by:

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Play List Coming Soon


Visit our  iTunes podcast page for archived programs

Pages with set lists and further info can be found below.

GBR show 1

GBR show 2

GBR show 3

GBR show 4

GBR show 5

GBR show 6

GBR show 7

GBR show 8

GBR show 9

GBR show 10

GBR show 11

GBR show 12

GBR show 13

GBR show 14

GBR show 15

GBR show 16

GBR show 17

GBR show 18

GBR show 19

GBR show 20 – Valentine’s Day

GBR show 21

GBR show 22

GBR show 23

GBR show 24

GBR show 25

GBR show 26

GBR show 27

GBR show 28

GBR show 29 – Easter

GBR show 30

GBR show 31

GBR show 32

GBR show 33 – Mother’s Day

GBR show 34

GBR show 35

GBR show 36

GBR show 37

GBR show 38

GBR show 39

GBR show 40 – Canada Day

GBR show 41

GBR show 42


We have you covered

Every year the Artistic Director of Summerfolk writes a series of 12 articles for the Owen Sound Sun Times in the 12 weeks leading up to the festival.




It’s always exciting when I can announce that the lineup for Summerfolk is complete. It’s taken a bit longer this year because there is so much going on in Ontario, and around the country this summer. Artists from coast to coast to coast are trying to fit as much into what is turning out to be one of the busiest summer festival circuits in years.


Whether you are a fan of singer-songwriters, world music, children’s performers or dance music– we’re presenting you with a music and crafts lineup that is one of the best we have ever presented.


If you like singer-songwriters, we have you covered. Renowned Canadian songstress Buffy Sainte-Marie is returning to Summerfolk this year to headline our Canadian Connection Celebration event on Thursday night at the Down by the Bay tent. We’re celebrating the rich musical traditions on this indigenous-themed night that will also feature The Jerry Cans from Nunavut and local powwow legends, the Chippewa Travellers.BSMphoto2credit_Christie_Goodwin (1)


We will also have the father and son duo of Bill and Joel Plaskett, up-and-comer Ken Yates, country sensation, Kelly Prescott and dynamic duo, Madison Violet.


If you like world music, we’ve got you covered. Free-wheeling Basque music and dance from Korrontzi, sinuous rhythms from Senegalese percussionist, Élage Diouf and gorgeous vocals from the eastern Mediterranean from quartette, Turkwaz.


In the Down by the Bay tent on Friday night, the enigmatic Delhi 2 Dublin will entrance the crowd. A past favourite at Summerfolk, we coaxed them back again this year for Friday and Saturday.


If you like young, energetic bands, we have you covered–The Accidentals, a trio from Traverse City Michigan and Olivia and the Creepy Crawlies from Kitchener Waterloo.


Want to shake a leg? We’ve created our own dance band for the weekend –The Circle Square under the direction of Emilyn Stam-who will lead lead contra, square and Balfolk dances. We’re moving our Saturday contra dance to the daytime this year so you get to choose between the evening programs at Down by the Bay and the Amphitheatre on Saturday.


Powerful voices? We’ve got you covered. Serena Ryder took Summerfolk’s breath away as a teenager years ago when she was just starting out. She returns to us now as one of the brightest stars on the scene with a brilliant new cd. Ruthie Foster also Serena_Ryder_Photo_1_Landscaperejoins us after a long absence. She has a timeless voice filled with passion and fire.




Blues? Covered! The sultry Shakura S’Aida, the rough and raw Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer and local hero, Trevor MacKenzie deliver the goods.


Children’s performers, the Musical Petting Zoo, the children’s parade — all those family-oriented features you’ve come to expect? We’ve got you covered!


We’ve got the finest of Artisans returning to our juried Crafts area. Clothing, jewellery, hand-crafted instruments and ceramics to delight the eye and tempt your pocket book.


Sunday will start, as always, with the gospel workshop at 10:30AM anchored this year by The Commissionaires. Our audience is familiar with at least one member of the group, the honey-voiced Jacob Moon, but the whole band is quite stunning. They play modern music that appeals to the spirit and has an eye to social justice


We are going to do a bit of a time shift, but we have you covered.


The Amphitheatre main stage Sunday night has been scheduled, in theory, to run from 6:00 to 11:00PM. Enthusiastic performers and audiences have sometimes meant that the show hasn’t actually ended until 11:30PM or later. This year, we are pushing back the times. The Amphitheatre will start at 4:00PM on Sunday and run until 9:00PM complete with the finale and the piping out of the musicians. It’s the same 5 hours of programming you’ve come to expect.


Those that want to party and dance just a bit more can join us for a late extra at the licensed Down by the Bay tent for an energetic, festival farewell.


All in all, it means an additional two hours of music for those that want it and an earlier end to the evening for those with kids or early morning Monday commitments like work!


All this awaits you at the 42nd edition of Summerfolk — August 17, 18, 19, 20 at Kelso Beach Park. Tickets and information can be found  right here



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